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Digital archive of theses discussed at the University of Pisa

 

Thesis etd-04012015-150119


Thesis type
Tesi di dottorato di ricerca
Author
CONTI, EUGENIA
URN
etd-04012015-150119
Thesis title
Wiring the autistic brain:structural connectivity from early developmental trajectories to predictive biomarkers
Academic discipline
MED/39
Course of study
NEUROSCIENZE E SCIENZE ENDOCRINOMETABOLICHE
Supervisors
tutor Prof. Guzzetta, Andrea
commissario Prof. Cioni, Giovanni
Keywords
  • autism spectrum disorder
  • diffusion imaging
  • early biomarkers
  • structural connectivity
  • toddlers
Graduation session start date
05/04/2015
Availability
Full
Summary
Increasing evidence suggests that the abnormalities of neural development in Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) already emerge during the first years of life, preceding the appearance of the first clinical signs. Detection of brain abnormalities at this time of development is therefore of
utmost importance as it can give insights onto the basic neural defects of autism, help clinicians to improve prediction and allow a better planning for early intervention. The application of new non-invasive techniques exploring brain connectivity, such as Diffusion Imaging and tractography, has allowed the identification of reliable biomarkers of ASD. Still little is known however on the early developmental trajectories of these biomarkers and on their actual diagnostic and prognostic value. The main aim of this PhD project has been to study structural connectivity applying advanced diffusion MRI protocol (HARDI) to those toddlers referred to the Infant Neurology Section of the Stella Maris Scientific Institute, who received a first clinical diagnosis of neurodevolpmental disorder, including ASD, in order to identify specific early neuro-biomarkers of ASD.
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